Mamata demands Centre pay back defrauded depositors

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that Rs 500 crore would be demanded from the Centre to pay back defrauded investors of Saradha Group as SEBI and RBI failed in their duty to check such companies.

"A storm has come because of the deeds of the earlier (Left Front) government and casual approach of the Centre. The SEBI and RBI also did not do their duties. They are talking big," the chief minister said.

"Thus the Centre should also take the responsibility of paying back the investors. We shall demand Rs 500 crore from the Centre for the purpose," Banerjee, who has announced a Rs 500 crore relief fund for defrauded investors, said.

She also vowed not to rest till money was repaid to the thousands defrauded allegedly by the Saradha Group and said that a new law was being brought to protect the interests of investors.

"I am happy that a new law is coming. However, I will not be happy till we are able to return the money to investors," Banerjee said, adding that many poor people had invested in the Saradha Group.

Referring to the new Bill which provided for seizure and attachment of properties of scamsters, she said that "Panic should not be created. I have always been with the common people and will always remain with them."

Referring to the other chitfund scams during the Left Front regime including Sanchaita and Verona, she said "If there were proper laws then the people would not have been cheated."

She also referred to the Shyamal Sen Commission set up by the state government to go into the functioning of chitfund companies, and which started work from on Friday.

"Investors in Saradha Group as well as in other such companies will now be able to register their complaints with the Commission with specific documents and help it to ascertain the amount of fraud and number of people cheated," Banerjee said.

She claimed should her government not having been there, many more people would have been financially ruined.

Without naming CPI(M) which has demanded a CBI probe in the scam, Banerjee said "Some are creating panic and politicising the issue purposefully. Do not do politics. You (Left Front government) created a mess and I have to clean it up."

She said that Governor M K Narayanan has approved the new bill which would be placed in the House on April 30 for consideration and passing.

She said that Finance minister Amit Mitra and Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra would secure the signature of the governor before May 5 in Delhi as he would be out of station.

"This will be done to send the bill for Presidnetial assent as early as possible. The state government can't act without strong legislation," she said.